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Tragedy struck at Umuele Umudim, Nnewi, Anambra State, on Christmas as four children of the same parents were roasted to death by mystery fire in their three-bedroom apartment on the ground floor of a storey building when their parents were not around.
The victims, Chioma Ofomata, 6 years old, Goodness, and Mercy Ofomata who were twins, 3, and Ifeoma, 2, all females were allegedly locked inside the apartment by their mother, Mrs. Chinemerem Ofomata, who was said to have gone to have a share of Christmas rice gift meant for widows in the community, after her husband, a vulcanizer, had already gone out to work with two of their children (boys), Kosy, 8, and Ebuka, 5.
Father of the victims, Mr. Anthony Ofomata, 57, said it was around 6pm, on December 25, that he was returning home only to see crowd at his residence, which is isolated from other buildings and, according to him, it was only his family that occupied the entire building.
According to him, he saw flames and sympathisers struggling to destroy the doors and windows and the iron burglary proofs to rescue the four children in the midst of the raging fire to no avail. He said his wife did not tell him where she was going to and did not know that the children were locked inside the house.
Our source said before people could notice what was happening at the house it was when flames were already coming out through the windows indicating that the children had already been consumed by the inferno before help could come. Probably, when they were crying for help, nobody heard them. The source said when the door was finally forced open, the charred bodies of the children were seen mangled together at one corner of the house where they had run to possibly thinking they would be saved there.
Mother of the victims said the door was actually locked outside to restrict movement of the children, as she said it wasn’t the first time the children were locked inside.
As for what caused the fire, she said she did not know, adding that there was no inflammable material inside the apartment. She said she locked them inside after having a meal with them and set out for the sharing. She denied that the rice was meant for widows alone.
“The rice was meant for everybody, not widows alone. If you like go and find out. I don’t know what caused the fire,” she said when the police led her to the scene of the incident for investigation after being arrested.
Bodies of the deceased were later deposited at a nearby mortuary as mother of the victims is still telling the police what she knew about the incident.
ADVICE to my Readers: The bottomline is .. Please do not leave your kids unattended. Do not lock them in the house unattended. Please and Please! Thank you!
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